Don't make Wicked Jokes
(The new edition does not have a chapter titled "Don’t make wicked jokes". The discourse from this chapter has been placed in chapter 4, in the new edition, titled "Abandon Poisoned food")
Abandon poisoned food.
Don’t be consistent.
Don’t make wicked jokes.
Don’t wait for an opportunity.
Don’t strike at the heart.
Don’t transfer the cow’s load to the bull.
Don’t back the favorite.
Don’t have wrong views.
Don’t fall for the celestial demon.
THE FIRST SUTRA
ABANDON POISONED FOOD.
According to the mystic traditions of the East, all that you think you are is nothing but food. Your body is food, your mind is food, your soul is food. Beyond the soul there is certainly something which is not food. That something is known as anatta, no-self. It is utter emptiness. Buddha calls it shunya, the void. It is pure space. It contains nothing but itself; it is contentless consciousness.
While the content persists, the food persists. By "food" is meant that which is ingested from the outside. The body needs physical food; without it, it will start withering away. This is how it survives; it contains nothing but physical food.
Your mind contains memories, thoughts, desires, jealousies, power trips, and a thousand and one things. All that is also food; on a little more subtle plane it is food. Thought is food. Hence when you have nourishing thoughts your chest expands. When you have thoughts which give you energy you feel good. Somebody says something good about you, a compliment, and look what happens to you -- you are nourished. And somebody says something wrong about you, and watch -- it is as if something has been snatched away from you, you are weaker than you were before.
The mind is food in a subtle form. The mind is nothing but the inner side of the body; hence what you eat affects your mind. If you eat nonvegetarian food you will have a particular kind of mind; if you eat vegetarian food you will certainly have a different kind of mind.
Do you know this immensely important fact about Indian history? India never attacked any country in its whole history of ten thousand years -- never, not a single aggressive act. How was it possible? Why? The same humanity exists here as exists everywhere else, but it is just that a different kind of body created a different mind.
You can watch it yourself. Eat something and watch, eat something else and watch. Keep notes, and you will become aware and surprised to find that each thing that you digest is not only physical, it has a psychological part to it. It makes your mind vulnerable to certain ideas, to certain desires.
Hence, down the ages, there has been a search for a kind of food that will not strengthen the mind but will help it to finally dissolve; a kind of food which, instead of strengthening the mind, will strengthen meditation, no-mind. No fixed and certain rules can be given, because people are different and each one has to decide for himself.
And watch what you allow into your mind. People are completely unaware; they go on reading everything and anything, they go on looking at the tv, any silly stupid thing. They go on listening to the radio, they go on chitchatting, chattering with people, and they are all pouring rubbish into each other's heads. Rubbish is all that they have.
Avoid such situations in which you are unnecessarily burdened with rubbish. You already have too much as it is, you need to be unburdened of it. And you go on collecting it as if it is something precious.
Talk less, listen only to the essential, be telegraphic in talking and listening. If you talk less, if you listen less, slowly slowly you will see that a cleanliness, a feeling of purity, as if you have just taken a bath, will start arising within you. That becomes the necessary soil for meditation to arise. Don't go on reading all kinds of nonsense.
Once I used to live in a house where the neighbor was a madman who was very much interested in newspapers. He would come every day to collect all the newspapers from me. If sometimes he was ill or I was not at home, then he would come later on.
Once it happened, for ten days I was away, and when I came back he came again to collect all the newspapers. I said to him, "But these are old now -- ten days old."
He said, "What does it matter? It is the same rubbish! Only the dates change."
It must have been a very sane moment in that madman's life. Yes, there are insane moments in so-called sane people's lives, and vice versa. He was telling the truth, saying, "It is the same old nonsense. What does it matter? I have time, and I have to remain occupied."
I asked him, "What did you do for these ten days?"
He said, "I was reading the old newspapers -- reading them again and again and again."
Leave a few gaps in your mind unoccupied. Those moments of unoccupied consciousness are the first glimpses of meditation, the first penetrations of the beyond, the first flashes of no-mind. And then if you can manage to do this, the other thing is to choose physical food which does not help aggression and violence, which is not poisonous.
Now even scientists agree with this, that when you kill an animal, out of fear he releases all kinds of poisons. Death is not easy. When you are killing an animal, out of fear a great trembling arises inside. The animal wants to survive; all kinds of poisons are released.
When you are in fear you also release poisons in the body. Those poisons are helpful; they help you to either fight or take flight. Sometimes it happens that in anger you can do things which you could never have imagined yourself doing. You can move a rock which ordinarily you could not have even shaken, but anger is there and poison is released.
In fear, people can run so fast that even Olympic runners will be left behind. Just think of yourself running if somebody is behind you with a dagger to kill you. You will do the best you can do, your whole body will be geared to function at its optimum.
When you kill an animal there is anger, there is anxiety, there is fear. Death is facing him; all the glands of the animal release many kinds of poisons. Hence the modern idea is that before killing an animal, make him unconscious, give him anaesthesia. In modern butcheries, anaesthesia is being used. But that does not make much difference, only a very superficial difference, because at the deepest core where no anaesthesia can ever reach, death has to be encountered. It may not be conscious, the animal may not be aware of what is happening, but it is happening as if in a dream. He is passing through a nightmare.
And to eat meat is to eat poisoned food.
Avoid anything that is poisoned on the physical plane, avoid anything that is poisoned on the mental plane. And on the mental plane things are more complicated. If you think you are a Hindu, you are poisoned; if you think you are a Mohammedan, you are poisoned. If you think you are a Christian, a Jaina, a Buddhist, you are poisoned. And you have been poisoned slowly, so slowly that you have become attuned to it. You are addicted to it.
You have been spoon-fed since the very first day; from your mother's breast, you have been poisoned. All kinds of conditionings are poisons. To think of oneself as a Hindu is to think of oneself opposed to humanity. To think of oneself as German, as Chinese, is to think of oneself opposed to humanity, is to think in terms of enmity, not friendship.
Think of yourself only as a human being. If you have any intelligence, think of yourself only as a simple human being. And when your intelligence grows a little more you will drop even the adjective "human"; you will think of yourself only as a being. And the being includes all -- the trees and the mountains and the rivers and the stars and the birds and the animals.
Become bigger, become huge. Why are you living in tunnels? Why are you creeping into small dark black holes? But you think you are living in great ideological systems. You are not living in great ideological systems, because there are no great ideological systems. No idea is great enough to contain a human being; being-hood cannot be contained by any concept. All concepts cripple and paralyze.
Don't be a Catholic and don't be a communist, just be a human being. These are all poisons, these are all prejudices. And down the ages you have been hypnotized into these prejudices. They have become part of your blood, your bones, your very marrow. You will have to be very alert to get rid of all this poisoning.
Your body is not poisoned as much as your mind is. The body is a simple phenomenon, it can be easily cleaned. If you have been eating nonvegetarian foods it can be stopped, it is not such a big deal. And if you stop eating meat, within three months your body will be completely free of all the poisons created by nonvegetarian foods. It is simple. Physiology is not very complicated.
But the problem arises with psychology. A Jaina monk never eats any poisoned food, never eats anything nonvegetarian. But his mind is polluted and poisoned by Jainism as nobody else's is.
The real freedom is freedom from any ideology. Can't you simply live without any ideology? Is an ideology needed? Why is an ideology needed so much? It is needed because it helps you to remain stupid, it is needed because it helps you to remain unintelligent. It is needed because it supplies you readymade answers and you need not find them on your own.
The real man of intelligence will not cling to any ideology -- for what? He will not carry a load of readymade answers. He knows that he has enough intelligence so that whatever situation arises, he will be able to respond to it. Why carry an unnecessary load from the past? What is the point of carrying it?
And in fact the more you carry from the past, the less you will be able to respond to the present, because the present is not a repetition of the past, it is always new, always always new. It is never the old; it may sometimes appear like the old, but it is not old, there are basic differences.
Life never repeats itself. It is always fresh, always new, always growing, always exploring, always moving into new adventures. Your old readymade answers are not going to help you. In fact they will hinder you; they will not allow you to see the new situation. The situation will be new, and the answer will be old.
That's why you look so stupid in life. But to remain stupid seems cheaper. To be intelligent needs effort, to be intelligent means you have to grow. And growth is painful. To be intelligent means you have to be continuously alert and aware; you cannot fall asleep, you cannot live like a somnambulist.
And to be intelligent has a few more dangers too. To be intelligent is very difficult because you have to live with the stupid crowds. To live with blind people and have eyes is a dangerous situation; they are bound to destroy your eyes. They cannot tolerate you, you are an offense.
Hence Jesus is crucified, Socrates is poisoned, Al-Hillaj is killed, Sarmad is beheaded. These were the most intelligent people that have ever walked on the earth. And how have we behaved with them? Why did a man of the intelligence of Socrates have to be killed? He became intolerable. His presence became such an offense. To look into his eyes meant to look in the mirror. And we are so ugly that rather than accepting the fact that we are ugly, the easier course is to destroy the mirror and forget all about your ugliness, and start living again in the old dream that you are the most beautiful person in the world.
We destroyed Socrates because he was a mirror. Hence people have decided it is better to remain mediocre, it is better to remain unintelligent.
Just the other day, I was reading a report. A few psychologists in England have discovered that by the time great politicians reach the highest posts, their intelligence is already withering away. Just think of a man of eighty-four becoming a prime minister! Those psychologists have warned the whole world that this is dangerous. People who have gone beyond the age of sixty, seventy, eighty, they become prime ministers and presidents. This is dangerous for the world, because they have so much power and so little intelligence left.
But those psychologists are not aware of another thing that I would like to tell you. In fact people choose them to be prime ministers and presidents because they are no longer intelligent. People don't like intelligent persons. People like people who look like them, who are like them; they feel they are not strangers. Intelligent people will be strangers.
I can't think of any country which could choose Socrates to be the prime minister -- impossible. He is so different, his approach to life is so different, his insight into things is so deep. No country could afford, or no country could be so courageous, as to make him the prime minister, because he would bring chaos. He would start changing each and everything, because each and everything needs to be changed.
This rotten society has to be destroyed completely; only then can a new society be created. Renovation is not going to help. We have been renovating the same old ruins for centuries. No more props, no more renovations, no more whitewash! All that is needed is to demolish it, and let us create a new society. Let us bring a new human being, HOMO NOVUS. Let us give birth to something new, a new mind, a new consciousness.
People choose dull dead persons to be in power because you can be safe with them. Now, India is very safe with Morarji Desai; he is not going to do a single thing. He will keep everything intact, he will keep this country's ugly bureaucracy as it is. He will not change anything; his whole effort will be to stop change. Jaiprakash Narayan was thinking of bringing about a total revolution, and what has happened is total failure.
Countries choose mediocre people to be in power, because they will save their tradition, their conventions, their prejudices. They will protect their poisons. Instead of destroying them, they will enhance them and strengthen them.
It is certainly dangerous to have unintelligent people in powerful posts. And it is becoming more and more dangerous, because they have more and more power and less and less intelligence. But why does it happen? There is a subtle logic in it. People don't want to change. Change is arduous, change is difficult.
If you change your poisonous foods you will be surprised; a new intelligence will be released in you. And this new intelligence will make it possible not to go on stuffing yourself with nonsense. This new intelligence will make you capable of dropping the past and its memories, of dropping unnecessary desires and dreams, dropping jealousies, angers, traumas and all kinds of psychological wounds.
Because you cannot drop psychological wounds, you become victims of psycho-fraud. The world is full of psychoanalysts of many kinds, they come in all shapes and sizes. The world is full of all kinds of psychotherapies. But why are so many psychotherapies needed? They are needed because you are not intelligent enough to heal your own wounds. Instead of healing them, instead of opening them to the winds and to the sun, you go on hiding them. You need psychotherapists to help you to open your wounds to the sun so that they can be healed, so that they can be allowed to heal.
But it is very difficult to find a real psychotherapist. Out of a hundred psychotherapists, ninety-nine are psychofrauds, not psychotherapists.
You will be surprised to know that more psychotherapists and psychoanalysts commit suicide than people in any other profession. The number is almost double. Now, what kind of people are these? And how were they going to help others? What were they doing their whole lives helping people?
More psychoanalysts go mad, insane, than people in any other profession of the world. The number is almost double. Why?... and they were helping other people towards sanity, when they themselves were insane. There is every possibility that they became interested in psychotherapy because of their insanity. It was an effort to find a cure for themselves.
And you will be surprised to know that psychotherapists of one kind go for psychotherapy to psychotherapists of another kind. The Freudian goes to the Jungian, the Jungian goes to the Freudian, and so on and so forth. This is a very strange situation.
If intelligence is released in you, you will be able to do all that is needed. You will be able to heal your own wounds, you will be able to see your own traumas, you need not go to a primal therapist.
I am allowing all kinds of therapies in this commune. In fact, in no other place in the world are so many psychotherapies available -- sixty in all. Why am I allowing these therapies? Just because of you, because you are not yet ready to release your intelligence.
As the commune goes deeper and deeper into inner realizations, therapies can be dropped. When the commune has really bloomed, there will be no need of any therapy. Then love is therapy, intelligence is therapy. Then living day to day, moment to moment, aware and alert, is therapy. Then all kinds of things that you do during the day, cleaning and cooking and washing, they are all therapy.
Therapies are here only for the time being. The day I become convinced that now the major part of you has gone beyond therapies, therapies will disappear, because then the major part will be able to pull the minor part into intelligence also.
We are trying to create an intelligent kind of life. I am not much of a religious person, I am not a saint, I have nothing to do with spirituality. All those categories are irrelevant about me. You cannot categorize me, you cannot pigeonhole me. But one thing can be said, that my whole effort is to help you release the energy called love-intelligence. If love-intelligence is released, you are healed.
And the third kind of poisoned food is spiritual. That's what the self is. The self needs continuous attention. It feeds on attention, attention is its food. It is not only the politician who hankers for attention, more and more attention from more and more people. Your so-called saints are doing the same.
There is no difference between saints and politicians and actors, no difference at all. Their basic need is the same -- attention: "More people should pay attention to me, more people should look up to me." That becomes food for the ego, and it is the subtlest kind of poisoned food.
These three things are implied in the first sutra. Atisha says:
ABANDON POISONED FOOD.
Physical, psychological, spiritual. Let your physiological body be pure of all poisons and toxins, and your mind be unburdened from all kinds of rubbish and junk. And let your soul be free from the idea of the self. When the soul is free from the idea of 'I' you have arrived at that inner space called no-self, ANATTA. That is freedom, that is nirvana, that is enlightenment. You have come home. Now there is nowhere to go; now you can settle, rest and relax. Now you can enjoy the millions of joys that are being showered upon you by existence.
When these three poisoned foods are dropped, you become empty. But this emptiness is not a negative kind of emptiness. You are empty in the sense that all poisons, all contents, are gone. But you are full, full of something which cannot be named, full of something which devotees call God.
Atisha cannot use that word; he is not a devotee, he is not a BHAKTA. He cannot use any word for it, he remains completely silent about it. He says: Drop this, drop this, drop this, and then whatsoever remains is you, the real you.
And the second sutra is a very very significant sutra.
THE SECOND SUTRA
DON'T BE CONSISTENT.
Have you ever heard anything like that, "Don't be consistent"? When you hear it for the first time or read it for the first time, you will think there has been some mistake, maybe a proof mistake or something. Because your so-called saints have been telling you just the opposite. "Don't be inconsistent," they say. "Be consistent."
It is here that Atisha is superb. He says:
DON'T BE CONSISTENT.
Why? What is consistency? Consistency means living according to the past. With what will you be consistent? If you want to be consistent you can have only one reference, and that is the past. To be consistent means to live according to the past, and to live according to the past is not to live at all. To live according to the past is to be dead. Then your life will be just a repetition.
To be consistent means you have already decided that now there is no more to life, that you have already come to a full stop; you don't allow life to have anything new to give to you, you have closed your doors. The sun will rise, but you will not allow its rays to enter into your room. And the flowers will bloom, but you will remain unaware of their fragrance. Moons will come and go, but you will remain stagnant. You have stopped being a river.
A river cannot be a consistent phenomenon. Only a pond can be consistent, because it is nonflowing. The flow by its very nature has to be inconsistent, because it has to face new situations, new challenges. New spaces are constantly coming upon it; it has to respond spontaneously, not according to the past.
The consistent man is a logical man, his life is one-dimensional. He lives in arithmetic, he follows logic. If anything goes against logic he simply avoids seeing it; he pretends that it is not there, because it is so disturbing to his logic.
And the logical man is the poorest man in the world, because life consists not only of logic, but of love too. And love is illogical. Only a very small part of life is logical, the superficial part. The deeper you go, the more and more you move into the illogical, or, to be more accurate, the supralogical.
Logic is good in the marketplace, but not in the temple, not in the mosque, not in the church. Logic is good in the office, in the shop, in the factory. Logic is not good when you are with your friends, when you are with your beloved, with your children. Logic is good when you are dealing in a businesslike way. But life is not all business; there is something far more valuable in life than any business. Allow that too.
A professor of philosophy went to a doctor and asked for advice on how to improve his sex life.
"You seem to be in good physical condition," said the doctor, after an examination. "You run ten miles a day, every day for seven days, then phone me."
A week later, the professor telephoned. "Well," said the physician, "has the running improved your sex life?"
"I don't know," said the professor. "I am seventy miles from home now."
This is the way a logical mind functions. It is one-dimensional. Life is multidimensional. Don't confine it, don't make it linear, don't live like a line. Live the multidimensions of it, the multi-phases of it, and then you cannot be consistent, because life is paradoxical -- one moment it is joy, another moment it is sadness. If you are very consistent, then you have to go on smiling; whether your heart is crying or smiling, that doesn't matter, you have to be consistent. You have to be Jimmy Carter and go on smiling.
I have heard that his wife has to close his mouth every night, because at night also he goes on smiling. If you practice such a thing the whole day, naturally, how can you relax so suddenly at night? It becomes a fixed pattern.
Life consists of sadness too. And sadness is also beautiful; it has its own depth, its own delicacy, its own deliciousness, its own taste. A man is poorer if he has not known sadness; he is impoverished, very much impoverished. His laughter will be shallow, his laughter will not have depth, because depth comes only through sadness. A man who knows sadness, if he laughs, his laughter will have depth. His laughter will have something of his sadness too, his laughter will be more colorful.
A man who lives life in its totality is a rainbow; he lives the whole spectrum of it. He cannot be consistent, he has to be inconsistent.
Atisha is giving you something tremendously valuable. Live all the moods of life; they are your own and they all have something to contribute to your growth. Don't become confined to a small space. Howsoever comfortable and cozy it looks, don't become confined to a small space. Be an adventurer. Search and seek all the facets of life, all the aspects of life.
It is said that you cannot write a novel about a good man. And that is true; a good man really has no life. What novel can you write about him? At the most you can write a character certificate saying that he is good -- and that is his whole life. He does not have much of a life, because he has no multidimensionality.
Live, and allow all that is possible. Sing, dance, cry, weep, laugh, love, meditate, relate, be alone. Be in the marketplace, and sometimes be in the mountains.
Life is short. Live it as richly as possible, and don't try to be consistent. The consistent man is a very poor man. Of course the society respects the consistent man, because the consistent man is predictable. You know what he is going to do tomorrow, you know how he is going to react. He is manageable, he can be easily manipulated. You know what buttons to push and how he will act. He is a machine; he is not truly a man. You can put him on and off and he will behave according to you; he is in your hands.
The society respects the consistent man; the society calls consistency "character." And the real man has no character. A real man is characterless, or beyond character. A real man cannot afford character, because character can be afforded only at the cost of life. If you renounce life, you can have character. If you don't renounce life, you will have many characters, but you will not have character. If you don't renounce life, how can you have a character? Each moment life is new, and so are you.
Society will not respect you, you will not be a respectable citizen -- but who cares? Only mediocre people care about the respect of the society. The real person cares about only one thing: Whether I am living my life or not, whether I am living it according to my own vision or not, it is my life, and I am responsible to myself.
The most important responsibility is not to the nation or to the church or to anybody else. The real responsibility is to yourself. And it is that you have to live your life according to your own light and you have to move wherever life leads, without any compromise.
The man of character compromises. His character is nothing but an effort to guarantee the society, "I am not dangerous," and to declare to the society, "I will follow the rules of the game, I am utterly at your disposal."
The saint has character, hence he is respected. The sage has no character, hence it is very difficult to recognize him. Socrates is a sage, Jesus is a sage, Lao Tzu is a sage but they are very difficult to recognize, almost impossible, because they don't leave any trace behind them. They don't fit into any mold, they are pure freedom. They are like birds flying in the sky, they don't leave any footprints.
It is only for a very few sensitive souls to find a sage as a master, because the mediocre follow the saint. Only very very intelligent people attune themselves to a sage, because the sage has no character and he cannot fulfill any of your expectations. He is bound to offend you, he is bound to disappoint you, he is bound to shake you and shatter you in many many ways.
Slowly slowly, he will make you as free as he himself is.
And now the third sutra, the most dangerous. I have been really worried about it.
THE THIRD SUTRA
DON'T MAKE WICKED JOKES.
What is a wicked joke? First I will have to tell three just to explain. And three, because it is a very esoteric number.
With a buzz and a beep and a whirr, a strange spaceship descends to Earth. Two bizarre creatures emerge and float to the ground. They are a young Martian couple, both scientists, here on an exploratory visit. They decide that the best way to find out about Earth is to communicate with some of the inhabitants, so off they bounce in search of some likely candidates. They enter an apartment building in the mysterious way Martians have of doing these things, and settle upon a newly-wedded couple by the names of Everett and Gladys Sprinkle (honest!).
Well, Everett and Gladys are as surprised as could be, but quickly adjust, in that special way newlyweds have of adapting to startling surprises. With one thing and another, the talk finally ends up on the subject of reproduction. The Martian male astounds the Sprinkles by offering to demonstrate the way people reproduce on his planet. Before they can protest in their embarrassment, he grabs the Martian woman, places the eight chubby fingers of his single hand on her forehead, and while he sparkles and she twinkles, an opening appears in her side and a tiny baby Martian hops out and starts prancing around Everett and Gladys' living room.
The Martian male then asks them how it is done on Earth. They hem and haw a bit, and finally decide that it would be too difficult to describe. So, in the interest of interplanetary cooperation, they take off their clothes and give a demonstration.
The Martians watch their performance, enthralled. When it is all over, the Martian woman asks, "When will the Earth child come out?" Gladys shakes her head and tells her that it will take nine months. The Martians are amazed at this, scratch their heads a bit, and then the male asks, "But if it isn't coming out right now, how come you were both so excited towards the end?"
A man went to see his doctor because he was feeling under the weather. The doctor asked the usual questions such as had the man been drinking or eating too much.
"No," said the man.
"Well, perhaps you have had too many late nights?" queried the doctor.
"No," the man replied.
The doctor thought about the problem for a while and then asked, "Much sex?"
"Infrequently," came the reply.
"Is that two words or one?"
And the third:
A woman walked into a supermarket to buy some broccoli. She went up to a man in the vegetable department and said, "Sir, do you have any broccoli?"
The man replied, "No, ma'am, none today. Come back tomorrow."
A few hours later, the woman was back again, asking the man, "Sir, do you have any broccoli?"
"Look, lady, I already told you, we don't have any broccoli today."
The lady left, only to return again that same day. By this time, the man was exasperated and said, "What does t-o-m spell in the word tomato?"
She replied, "Tom."
"And what does p-o-t spell in the the word potato?" he asked.
"Pot," was the reply,
He then said, "And what does f-u-c-k spell in the word broccoli?"
She looked puzzled and said, "There's no fuck in broccoli."
He sighed a deep sigh and exclaimed, "Lady, that's what I've been trying to tell you all day!"
I don't know whether they are wicked jokes or not, but one thing is certain, Atisha would have enjoyed them.
In fact, by "wicked jokes" he means something totally different. He means: Don't say anything against anybody, don't hurt anybody when they are not present, don't hurt anybody behind their back.
The translation is not exact. Atisha's whole meaning is: Don't gossip about people with a deliberate intention to hurt them, because that is not really joking, that is not fun, that is not humorous. Atisha can't be against the sense of humor, it is impossible. No man of his intelligence and awareness can be against the sense of humor. In fact, it is people like Atisha who have given the best religious humor to the world. Atisha comes from Gautam Buddha's tradition -- the same lineage as the Zen people. And Zen is the only religion which has accepted humor as prayer. It is not possible, not possible at all, that Atisha had no sense of humor.
Then the sutra cannot be really against jokes. It is against hurting people. What he is saying is going deeper into the psychology of the joke, into the rationale behind the joke. It is what Sigmund Freud did one thousand years later. Sigmund Freud thinks that when you joke about somebody there is every possibility that you are aggressive, that you have anger, that in a vicarious way you are pretending to be humorous but you really want to be offensive.
But that cannot be decided by anybody else from the outside; only you can be the judge. If there is a deliberate effort in your mind to offend somebody, to hurt somebody, if it is violence disguised as humor, avoid it. But if it is not violence but just a pure sense of humor, the sense of fun -- the sense of not taking life seriously, not taking it too seriously, then there is no problem.
If I meet Atisha some day, I am going to teach him a few jokes. And my feeling is he will enjoy it.
Jokes can be just pure humor without any violence in them. Sometimes on the surface one may think there is some violence, but the point is not what others think, the point is what your intention is. It is a question of intention. You can smile with an intention to offend, then smiling becomes a sin. Anything can become a sin if deep down the desire is to do violence. And anything can become virtue if deep down there is a desire to create more joy in life, more laughter in life.
My own understanding is that there is nothing more valuable than laughter. Laughter brings you closest to prayer. In fact only laughter is left in you when you are total. In everything else you remain partial, even in lovemaking you remain partial. But when you have a really heartfelt belly laugh, all the parts of your being -- the physiological, the psychological, the spiritual -- they all vibrate in one single tune, they all vibrate in harmony.
Hence, laughter relaxes. And relaxation is spiritual. Laughter brings you to the earth, brings you down from your stupid ideas of being holier-than-thou. Laughter brings you to reality as it is. The world is a play of God, a cosmic joke. And unless you understand it as a cosmic joke you will never be able to understand the ultimate mystery.
I am all for jokes, I am all for laughter.
Atisha has been wrongly translated. What he actually means is: Don't be violent, even in your words. Even while joking, don't be violent, because violence breeds more violence, anger will bring more anger, and it creates a vicious circle that has no end.
DON'T WAIT FOR AN OPPORTUNITY.
Because the opportunity is now, the opportunity is here. So those who say, "We are waiting for an opportunity," are being deceptive, and they are not deceiving anybody but themselves.
The opportunity is not going to come tomorrow. It has already arrived, it has always been here. It was here even when you were not here. Existence is an opportunity; to be is the opportunity.
DON'T WAIT FOR AN OPPORTUNITY.
Don't say, "Tomorrow I will meditate, tomorrow I will love, tomorrow I will have a dancing relationship with existence." Why tomorrow? Tomorrow never comes. Why not now? Why postpone? Postponement is a trick of the mind; it keeps you hoping, and meanwhile the opportunity is slipping by. And in the end you will come to the cul-de-sac -- death -- and there will be no more opportunity left.
And this has happened many times in the past. You are not new here, you have been born and you have died many many times. And each time the mind has played the same trick, and you have not yet learned anything.
DON'T WAIT FOR AN OPPORTUNITY.DON'T STRIKE AT THE HEART.
He says: Criticize people's minds, criticize their ideologies, criticize their systems of thought, criticize everything -- but never criticize anybody's love, never criticize anybody's trust. Why? -- because love is so valuable, trust is so immensely valuable. To destroy it, to criticize it, to shatter it in any way, is the greatest harm one can do to anybody.
You can criticize the mind -- it should be criticized -- but not the heart. Whenever you see something of the heart, avoid the temptation to criticize it.
Just the opposite is the case with people. They can tolerate your ideology, they can tolerate your mind, but the moment they see your love, your trust, they jump upon you. They cannot tolerate your trust; it is too much. They will say that this is hypnosis, that you have been hypnotized, you have been deceived, you are living in an illusion; that love is madness, love is blind; logic has eyes, and love is blind.
The truth is just the opposite. Logic is blind; criticize it! Love has eyes, only love has eyes, because only love can see God. Criticize beliefs, because beliefs are nothing but doubts hidden behind beautiful words. Criticize beliefs, but don't criticize anybody's trust.
And what is the difference? Trust has the quality of love. Belief is just a rational approach. If somebody says, "I believe in God because these are the proofs for God," then criticize him, because proofs can only prove the belief. But don't criticize somebody who says, "I love God. I don't know why, I simply love God. I am in love. There are no proofs, in fact there is every proof against him, but still I love God."
Remember the famous statement of Tertullian, a great Christian mystic: CREDO QUIA ABSURDUM.... Somebody asked him, "Why do you believe in God?" He said, "Because God is absurd. Because God cannot be believed in, that's why I believe in God."
Everything else can be believed, only God cannot be believed. But in believing that which cannot be believed, one grows. That is reaching for the impossible.
So whenever you see somebody in love, somebody in trust, avoid the temptation to criticize. It is easy to criticize, it is easy to throw poison at somebody's love affair. But you don't know that you have been destructive, you don't know that you have destroyed something of immense beauty. You have thrown a rock on a roseflower.
DON'T TRANSFER THE COW'S LOAD TO THE BULL.
People are always finding scapegoats. Because they cannot answer the strong person, they take revenge on the weak.
There is a story about Mulla Nasruddin. He was in the court of a great king, he was the jester of the court. He said something very funny, but the king felt offended, and he slapped Mulla Nasruddin. Now, Mulla wanted to slap him back, but that was risky, that was dangerous, so he slapped the man who was standing by his side.
The man was taken aback; he said, "What are you doing? I have not done anything to you."
And Mulla said, "Why are you arguing with me? You can slap the man who is standing by your side. The world is big; by the time it comes back again we will see. Just let it go -- pass it on!"
That's what people are doing, actually doing. It is not just a story. The husband has been humiliated by the boss and he comes home and is angry at the wife for no reason at all. Or maybe he finds a reason; a reason can always be found, they are so simple to find. There is too much salt in the vegetables or the chapatti is burnt, or something -- anything! He will find a reason, and he will convince himself that he is angry because of this reason. The reality is that he is angry at his boss. But the boss is a powerful man; to say anything could be dangerous, he might lose his job. So he smiled when the boss was insulting him; he went on wagging his tail. Now he is projecting the boss onto the wife.
If the story is happening in the West, then the wife can also jump on him. But if it is happening in the East, the wife cannot do anything. In the East, husbands have been telling their wives that husbands have to be treated as gods. The wife cannot say anything; she will have to wait for the child to come back from school and then she will do with the child whatsoever she wanted to do with the husband. She will beat the child. The child is late, his clothes are torn again, he has done this and that again, he has been playing with the wrong boys again.
And what can the child do? He will go into his room and beat or destroy his toys. In this way it goes on shifting.
Atisha is saying: Please don't shift things; otherwise your whole life you will be just shifting and shifting. Take the responsibility, take the risk. Respond to the situation, whatsoever the cost.
DON'T TRANSFER THE COW'S LOAD TO THE BULL.DON'T BACK THE FAVORITE.
Don't have likes and dislikes. Be just, be fair, don't decide through your prejudices, your likes and dislikes. Just decide the case on its own merit, and your life will have the beauty of truth, your life will have the strength of truth.
DON'T HAVE WRONG VIEWS.
All views are wrong. Life should be lived without views, life should be lived in immediate contact with reality. But if it is not possible, then at least don't have wrong views. What are wrong views? Views which are rooted in prejudice, hate, anger, greed, ambition, violence.
The first thing is, don't have any kind of views. Live life without a philosophy to live by. No philosophy is needed to live life; in fact the best and most glorious life is the life which is lived without any philosophy -- simple, innocent, spontaneous.
But if it is not possible right now, then start by at least dropping wrong views. Don't live through prejudice, don't live through anger, don't live through hatred, don't live through greed and ambition, don't live through dreams. Be more real, more realistic. Be a little more alert and watchful, watching each act cautiously, because each act creates a chain of actions. Whatsoever you do will remain in the world even when you are gone, because the chain will continue. If you cannot do something beautiful in the world, at least don't do something ugly.
The highest possibility is to live without any views, to just live, to just be. The second best is to at least drop the negative part and follow the positive. And slowly slowly you will see that if you can drop the negative, the positive can also be dropped. In fact to drop the negative is more difficult than to drop the positive.
The person who can drop the no can easily drop the yes, because the no is more ego-strengthening than the yes. The person who can drop anger, hatred and greed can easily drop the positive feelings. And to remain transcendental to all dualities is the ultimate goal of Atisha and all the great masters.
And the last sutra:
DON'T FALL FOR THE CELESTIAL DEMON.
The ego is called the celestial demon. Remember constantly, each moment of your life has to become a constant remembrance, that the ego is very subtle and it has very cunning ways to come back again and again. It follows you to the very last, it hopes to the very last that you will be trapped. Beware of it.
This ego is called in Christian, Mohammedan and Judaic scriptures the devil. It is your own mind, the very center of your own mind.
In the beginning, just try for a few moments to live without any 'I'. You are digging a hole in the earth in the garden; just dig the hole, just become the digging, and forget that "I am doing it." Let the doer evaporate. You will perspire in the sun, and there will be no doer, and the digging will continue. And you will be surprised how divine life is if the ego can disappear even for a single moment.
Taking a shower, just let the water fall on you, but don't be there as an 'I'. Relax, forget the 'I', and you will be surprised. The shower is not only cooling your body, it cools your innermost core too.
And if you search, you will find so many moments in ordinary life every day when the ego can be put aside. And the joy is so great that once you have tasted it you can do it again and again. And slowly slowly you become capable of putting it off, unless it is absolutely necessary.
And then that day of blessing also comes when you know it is not necessary at all. You say the final goodbye to it. The day the ego dies, you have reached the point of no-self. That is your real being. Nonbeing is your real being. Not to be is to be for the first time.
Enough for today.